Professional Career Escalators Program Kicks Off with Ice Cream Social

UMKC welcomed students from the first Escalators cohort to campus
Incoming student Sydney Peck talks with Chancellor Agrawal as they eat ice cream at a table

UMKC’s new initiative, Professional Career Escalators, kicked off last Saturday with an ice cream social and welcome event.

Students in the inaugural cohort were invited to campus to get to know each other and meet community members, faculty and staff they’ll engage with during the program. Betty Rae’s ice cream truck provided sweet treats.

“We’re so excited to finally kick off the first year of the Professional Career Escalators program,” said Mako Miller, director of the program. “We’re helping students bridge the gap between academics and the professional world. They’ll have a better understanding of life after graduation and what they want to do with their careers.”

The signature Professional Career Escalators program is a unique, trademarked system of personalized support and services unlike anything being offered across the U.S. It is designed to propel students from their academic studies to good-paying careers by providing a dedicated, GPS-guided path from enrollment to workforce. The program involves mentors from local business and organizations, internships, networking and employment preparation in key areas of workforce demand: health care, engineering, business, education and law and justice.

There are 100 students in this cohort, all of whom will begin their time at UMKC this fall as first-time freshmen or transfer students. Through the Escalators program, they’ll have opportunities to explore their interests through applied learning experiences and mentoring, as well as develop their career and leadership skills.

We asked some of these students what attracted them to the Professional Career Escalators program.

Michael Viermann talks with faculty and staff at a table.
Michael Viermann, second from right

Michael Viermann, Raymore-Peculiar High School: “I saw the big headlines that said $1,500 scholarship. Money is always an issue. I want to be a doctor, which is a little scary, and I thought the program would help me. And my brother goes here, and I love Pizza 51.”

Aaliyah Daniels, on the right, and her friend smile for the camera while eating ice cream outside
Aaliyah Daniels, left, and friend.

Aaliyah Daniels, Sumner Academy High School: “I saw that there was a law and justice option and I want to learn more about that, for when I go out into the community to help people.”

Paris Yates reaches for her ice cream as a Betty Rae's employee hands it to her from inside the blue ice cream truck.
Paris Yates

Paris Yates, Hermitage High School: “I liked the health care aspect. I think it can help me with communications skills and leadership skills, and help my career path.”

Dunia Qakei, far right, speaks with faculty and staff at a table.
Dunia Qakei, far right

Dunia Qakei, Lee’s Summit High School: “I saw the information about the escalators on my application status page, and I feel like I could fit in. I’m excited for the applied learning experiences.”

Lily Lefferd, left, stands with her mom Rhonda and they hold ice cream and smile at the camera.
Lily Lefferd, left, with her mom Rhonda

Lily Lefferd, Royal Valley High School: “I like the idea of getting the opportunity to explore internships while I’m in college for business administration.”

Sydney Peck, far right, sits with her family members at a table and they all smile at the camera.
Sydney Peck, far right, with her family

Sydney Peck, Staley High School: “I am very involved in music and I am interested in health care as a career. I like that UMKC has joint research with the Conservatory and School of Medicine.”

Published: Jun 28, 2022
Posted In: Student Life

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